MLB Arbitration Offers

23 players were offered arbitration yesterday:

Type A:
Jason Bay
Rafael Betancourt
Chone Figgins
Mike Gonzalez
Matt Holliday
John Lackey
Marco Scutaro
Rafael Soriano
Jose Valverde
Billy Wagner

Type B:
Rod Barajas
Adrian Beltre
Marlon Byrd
Mark DeRosa
Justin Duchscherer
Brandon Lyon
Jason Marquis
Carl Pavano
Joel Pineiro
Fernando Rodney
Ivan Rodriguez
Brian Shouse
Gregg Zaun

There weren’t too many surprises on this list. I didn’t think the Cardinals would offer arbitration to Pineiro, but it’s low risk because he’s looking for a multi-year deal. I guess the one that’s most surprising is Gregg Zaun, since the Rays just traded for Kelly Shoppach. It’s been assumed that they’ll non-tender Dioner Navarro; if Zaun were to accept, I’d expect that he’d get a raise; the Rays would be looking at a catching tandem that could cost as much as $8-9MM.

The loser here is Betancourt. As we’ve seen this past off-season, teams are wary of giving up draft picks; that means teams may pass on a middle reliever with this cost. Darren Oliver and David Weathers accepted arbitration last year because they realized they were stuck. Juan Cruz, on the other hand, had to settle on the Royals shortly before spring training started after getting very little attention. Soriano, Gonzalez, and Valverde have all closed in the past, so their value is a little higher.

The Red Sox are the first team to snag a pick, as the Braves signed Billy Wagner this morning. He’s getting $7MM next year, with a $6.5MM vesting option based off games finished. The Braves will forfeit pick #20; the Red Sox are expected to sign at least one Type A free agent (Marco Scutaro, possibly Matt Holliday if Jason Bay walks), so they will still have a pick in first round.

Now, the contracts will start rolling in. If a team were to have signed a Type A player prior to yesterday, they’d had to off forfeited their pick. Now that arbitration offers have been extended, any Type A free agent not offered arbitration will not require compensation. Randy Wolf, for example, was a Type A free agent and the Dodgers didn’t offer him arbitration; they will not receive a pick when he signs with another team.

Here are a few things to remember with the free agent compensation system:
– Picks 1-15 are protected (It’s 16 this year, since the Rangers get an an additonal pick for not signing their first rounder last year)
– If a team signs more than 1 Type A free agent, they go by the Elias Rankings as to which team will receive the first round pick of the signing team. The other team(s) get picks in later rounds. (The top 5 free agents this year were John Lackey, Matt Holliday, Marco Scutaro, Jose Valverde, and Billy Wagner)
– Of course a team will not receive compensation if they sign their own free agents.

As of today, the first round looks as follows:
1. Nationals
2. Pirates
3. Orioles
4. Royals
5. Indians
6. Diamondbacks
7. Mets
8. Astros
9. Padres
10. Athletics
11. Blue Jays
12. Reds
13. White Sox
14. Brewers
15. Rangers (for failure to sign ‘09 first rounder Matt Purke)
16. Cubs
17. Rays
18. Mariners
19. Tigers
20. Red Sox (from Braves for Type-A Billy Wagner)
21. Twins
22. Rangers
23. Marlins
24. Giants
25. Cardinals
26. Rockies
27. Phillies
28. Dodgers
29. Red Sox
30. Angels
31. Rays (for failure to sign ‘09 first rounder LeVon Washington)
32. Yankees

33. Red Sox (for Type-A Billy Wagner)

Players have until Dec. 7 to accept or decline arbitration.

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